Considering Young Sheldon season 5’s storytelling trajectory, the CBS comedy’s The Big Bang Theory title connection is starting to become a lie.
Warning! SPOILERS for Young Sheldon season 5.
The title connection of Young Sheldon to The Big Bang Theory is becoming a lie. Given that The Big Bang Theory was CBS’ number one comedy for years, launching a spin-off series for the hit show made sense to capitalize on its popularity. In 2017, CBS did exactly this with the premiere of Young Sheldon, which tackles Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper’s (Jim Parsons) childhood in Texas. However, after five years, the prequel’s ties to its parent series are slowly disappearing, starting with its outdated title.
Chronicling Sheldon’s childhood years means also introducing his family. Young Sheldon debuted the younger Mary (Zoe Perry, originally played by Laurie Metcalf), Meemaw (Annie Potts, originally played by June Squibb) Missy (Raegan Revord originally played by Courtney Henggeler), and Georgie (Montana Jordan, originally played by Jerry O’Connell). Meanwhile, Lance Barber’s George finally makes a physical appearance since he was already dead during the events of The Big Bang Theory. The whole Cooper clan initially functioned as supporting characters to Sheldon’s adventures in Young Sheldon, but this is noticeably changing.
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When Young Sheldon was greenlit, it was clear that its success hinged on its relation to the nerd-centric sitcom. Understandably, CBS wanted the public to immediately establish a strong connection between Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory — hence the spinoff show’s title. After five seasons, the prequel is slowly getting out of its parent show’s shadows. Considering a couple of factors in how Young Sheldon’s storytelling is going, its title is getting outdated and inaccurate. Firstly, despite the series having a titular character, Young Sheldon season 5 proves that it’s no longer just about the boy genius. Each member of the Cooper family has had their respective big arcs this season. George and Mary separately deal with their growing attraction to other people, Meemaw gets busy with her own business, and Missy navigates her life as a typical high schooler. More recently, Georgie and the rest of the Coopers had to come to terms with his situation as a young, expecting father—a plotline that doesn’t have young Sheldon Cooper at its center.
Secondly, Sheldon isn’t exactly young anymore in Young Sheldon. When the show started in 2017, Armitage was just nine years old, but now he’s 14. CBS has tried slowing down the comedy’s storytelling, which means that despite the actor’s real-world age, Sheldon is just 12 in Young Sheldon. Unfortunately, the network can no longer stretch out time on screen, making it difficult for Armitage and even Revord to pass as tweens. Aside from the physical indicators, the actor’s voice has also changed significantly in Young Sheldon season 5 alone, which means that the comedy needs to keep its timeline moving to catch up. The unfortunate part here is that this also forces the show to finally tackle George’s cheating scandal per The Big Bang Theory and his subsequent death a year later.
Currently, Young Sheldon still has two more seasons guaranteed. As the show goes on, it’s safe to say that it will continue to transition from a straight-up sitcom like The Big Bang Theory was to a family dramedy. Despite their narrative ties to each other, the two shows are morphing into two distinct comedies for CBS.
More: Young Sheldon Season 5 Just Made Its Missy Failure Even Worse
Young Sheldon season 5 airs Thursdays on CBS.
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Accidental movie and TV fan who is perpetually curious, Ana rekindled her love for writing and married it with everything pop culture. The result is a passionate writer who could ramble (and of course, pen) about films and series multiple hours a day. She has a soft spot for procedurals and old sitcoms (The Golden Girls!) but won’t dare watch any horror films although she’s (ironically) dying to see one. Though a bit late to the party and was an actual Force non-believer, she now finds the Star Wars franchise quite fascinating (fun fact: it was a crazy Jar Jar Binks/Sith theory that drew her in).
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